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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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How do you FInish up the School Year?

How do you finish up the school year?
So many things to do on the check off list. In addition to lots of administrative requirements~ here are some things I also do before I close the door with a "'s summer!" and leave the building.
1. Before the students leave~ I have them write a Dear Incoming 6th grade letter. I tell the students to list a couple of tips that they'd like to give the incoming students about my social studies class and how to be successful. On the first day of school~ the new students read the letters and we discuss some of the tips that were suggested.
2. During study hall the last week of school with testing done~ and less assignments for the students to work on~ I often asked if anyone wished to cut out "fresh" letters for next year's bulletin boards. Students helped me take down all my boards.After the room was bare~ a major echo could be heard in the room~ Fortunately~ it didn't stay that way for long. I would begin decorating my room for the fall. I used to get some very confused looks from colleagues as I'd busily put on things for September in June! Students offered to cover the boards with newspaper when I was done so the construction paper didn't fade over the summer. This was a real time saver because when I came down the end of August to set up my room~ I just removed the paper and could move to other tasks needing to be done for the first day of school~ I found many other teachers eventually joined in on this "pre" readiness idea.
3. I always did a major file cleaning each June as files have a way of accumulating! I also sorted my desk drawers so they'd look ready for the new school year. I offered students any of the materials that were able to be given away.
4. Having a walk in closet with all my materials~ I also dusted and straightened up the closet. Past social studies projects that students had made and I had asked to save were checked to see if they could last another year. When I retired~ I actually tracked down as many students as I could to offer them back their donated 6th grade projects they had made for my annual Ancient Museum night. Some were 20 years old!
5. Before the students leave~ I put up huge papers for each homeroom. Students were encouraged to write a goodbye note on the papers(which I saved and are now in my attic.) Before I was in a departmentalized middle school team~ I was a self-contained classroom for 17 years. We'd make yearbooks. I still have those~ too. Last year on Facebook~ a student I had almost 30 years ago contacted me. Turns out her 6th grade yearbook with poems~ short stories~ class will~ etc.~ was long missing. I found mine and mailed her copies of her "work" show she could show her kids. She was appreciative.
6. I also gave the students an end of the year letter. It has already been posted in earlier posts at my blog.
7. As I closed the door to my classroom for summer~ I would always say...WHERE did the school year go? " Life is an adventure....enjoy the ride!"
Have a wonderful summer!

Latest resource just posted to EdWorld Exchange:
Exploring the Ocean Blue:
A Web quest~ will introduce students to our oceans. There are nine informative web questions. Fun Facts~ comprehension questions~extension activities and links are also provided as is the key. Can be used as part of a unit on oceans or as an activity for a Friday~ before a vacation break or as an end of the year activity. This can be a one day class resource or used for a couple of days depending on whether the activities(creative writing/art work/online simulation games~ etc.) are used with the students. Order this or any of my other resources and I will send along a FREE web quest on Leopards(just email me for the PDF). Grades 5 and up. TPT Store
Thanks for your continued support of my resources!